Page last updated at 07:04 GMT, Wednesday, 16 July 2008 08:04 UK

Pop songs banned from funerals

By Natalie Lindo
BBC News

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Playing Candle In The Wind and Flying Without Wings as you say goodbye to a loved one could become a thing of the past for parishioners in the Diocese of Clogher.

Leaflets handed out on its behalf at Saint Mary's Church in Castleblayney on Sunday said pop music and poetry had no place in funeral ceremonies.

The diocese takes in parts of counties Fermanagh, Tyrone, Monaghan and Louth.

The leaflet, called "Celebrating a Catholic Funeral" said a return to traditionalism was needed "to affirm that the funeral Mass and the burial was a sacred occasion".

"In our Catholic tradition the funeral Mass and burial is not about a good 'send-off' but faith in God," it said.

"Practices such as personal poems about the deceased, favourite songs and the shaking of hands in the church before going to the graveside are breaking the continuous prayer that the funeral liturgy is.

"Personal contributions are permitted, as long as they are after the final blessing at the graveside."

It continues that anyone who needed assistance in arranging a funeral Mass should contact the parish office.

One church-goer, who did not want to be named, told the BBC that the parish had been shocked by the move.

"I think sometimes a particular song, or poem, might be special to the family or the person," she said.

"At the end of the day they are being paid to do the funeral, it is a very personal thing."

A statement issued by St Mary's Church said the information contained in the leaflet was to assist families when they were arranging funerals.

It said the leaflet was intended to provide guidelines for funeral services and was not a set of rules or regulations.

"What we are doing here is in line with diocesan guidelines," it said.

"We are reiterating what is already the ideal in terms of funeral liturgies and to emphasis that a funeral is a sacred occasion."





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